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Minnesota Legislature

New Law: Diversion program expansion

Published (7/15/2011)
By Mike Cook
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A driver’s license reinstatement diversion program established in 2009 has been green-lighted for two more years and expanded.

Sponsored by Rep. Tim Kelly (R-Red Wing) and Sen. Scott Newman (R-Hutchinson), a new law extends the pilot project scheduled to sunset on June 30, 2011, for another two years. It will also permit counties to establish a program, not just cities.

The law is effective May 28, 2011.

The program provides an alternate path of re-licensure for those driving without a license. It is directed at people who want to get valid, but for various reasons, such as limited finances, are unable to do so.

Under the program, those charged with driving after suspension or revocation, but who have not yet entered a plea, can participate. In exchange for a diversion driver’s license, participants must maintain insurance, make regular payments toward the outstanding fines and complete a class that teaches life and financial management skills. Offenders pay for program costs.

Duluth, St. Paul, South St. Paul, West St. Paul and Inver Grove Heights took part in the pilot program, and Isanti joined in July 2010. The public safety commissioner can permit other cities to establish a program.

As of Dec. 31, 2010, the program had 1,781 eligible participants, of which the average participant had seven outstanding citations with an average balance of $1,700. Supporters noted the program had returned close to $500,000 back to participating cities.

HF387*/ SF471/CH87

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